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where to start with a netbook

by lwvirden / September 1, 2010 11:51 PM PDT

My son, a university freshman, has decided to spend some of his hard earned summer job money on a netbook to use at school.

Since he's never had his own computer before, let alone a netbook, I would like to find some articles, web sites, etc. that would help him get off the right foot. Articles on security (wifi as well as virus/trojan/etc.), backup, and essential programs to add for a student are the types of things I am talking about.

In the old days, only computer geeks bought computers, so most of the books, articles, etc. were pretty technical. Today, however, grandmas, uncles, and little brothers and more - people without a foundation of computer literacy - are buying, or being given, computers.

It is essential that someone just getting started can find things to easily locate, understand, and ask questions about when it isn't clear.

I know that many "for dummies" books have been written. Having at least some web sites to visit that point the reader to such books would be useful. Just searching amazon returns too many hits to really be of use... the user is overwhelmed by information very quickly.

yes, in my son's case, I need to find out whether he has XP, 7, Linux, or something else. I've send an email asking. But regardless of the answer, having some place to begin dealing with the very FIRST things that one should do seems like something useful.

Just wondering if there are some useful resources to have handy when such cases arise with friends and family.

Thank you all!

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As a primary machine I can't endorse any netbook.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 2, 2010 2:16 AM PDT

I would start with the 399 laptops at the very least from Dell or what you see at Walmart but the netbook is a bad idea as the next thing he would have to buy is some USB DVDRW drive to create the restore media. Instantly having paid as much for a laptop without the full size keyboard and the rest he would feel robbed.

I can't suggest doing this.

About security. The CNET Spyware Forum has a top post about this.

About other OSes. I can't say any US based student could get by without pain on Linux. It's a fine OS and all but the extra work could mean he loses time on that where a Windows 7 or Apple MacOSX machine would just work.

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Re: the netbook OS
by lwvirden / September 2, 2010 2:26 AM PDT

So, I found out from him that his machine is coming with XP. The only regular contact with Windows that he's had is with Vista Home, but I suspect he'll be able to function with it.

I understand the point about getting a laptop instead. Right now, the laptops were over $100 more than the Asus netbook that he ordered, and despite my encouraging him to see it physically before starting, he has already did what he has done.

So to create the restore media, he is going to need to write out to a DVD? I actually need a drive right now, so I guess I could get one and let him create his restore media. If the topic of how to create said media is too far off topic, could someone at least email me a recommendation as to what he needs to do for this?

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Creating the restore media is
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 2, 2010 3:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: the netbook OS

In my opinion not optional. Unless you feel the shipping of the book back to service and paying for a reload is a deal?

Ok, all I ever needed was an external USB DVDRW drive. These are plentiful on amazon,, and all over. Shop around as the price is all over the map. You pay more for small slim units and less for units that dwarf the netbook.

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The netbook basics paper (by me)
by Dale E Marcum / September 5, 2010 7:11 AM PDT

I buy Netbooks to give away to people overseas who cannot afford them otherwise. This I might add is a Christian outreach we do. The first thing I look for is obviously "price". Netbooks I look at are from $199 to $269. To find these use "refurbished" in your search). All I have ordered were "as new". They meet a "standard" for features to accomplish the tasks they will do. They will almost always have an Atom processor from Intel. This is crucial for power savings. AMD is also available but in a limited manner at this time. It will have 1 GB of ram and a 160gb hard drive. Graphics is integrated. 3 USB ports are common. LAN and wireless are also standard. Web-cam is standard. The units I look for come with a 6 cell battery not 3 cell in the price paid. Standard 120-240 power transformer included. Also multi card reader is in these packages. The screen is usually 10" or 8". Windows XP is also included with service pack 3. Unfortunately for me the virus program of my choice is not included which is AVG Free. This means deleting the installed virus stuff and installing the new stuff. Also any MS Office programs are trial only where Open Office is also free if downloaded and installed. I also disable error reporting (those annoying send Microsoft a message pop ups). Details on how to do that is available online. Sites with these deals that I have dealt with are,,, and I am sure there are more out there but this is a good starting point. Hope this helps anyone looking for a good Netbook and God Bless!

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